When the United Arab Emirates learned details of the assassination of Hamas man Mahmoud al-Mabhouh in January, it considered staying silent on the matter, US cables revealed by Wikileaks show. However, it chose to go public with the news because silence would be seen as siding with Israel, the Reuters news agency reported.
According to Dubai police reports, Mabhouh was assassinated in his hotel room by a team using forged passports and disguises.
"The two options discussed were to say nothing at all, or to reveal more or less the full extent of the UAE's investigations," U.S. Ambassador Richard Olson wrote in a diplomatic cable, based on a conversation he had with a UAE government media adviser.
The first option "would have been perceived as protecting the Israelis," the ambassador wrote.
The cables show the al-Mabhouh hit was discussed for nine days at the UAE government's highest levels before being released to the public.
"The statement was carefully drafted not to point any fingers, but the reference ... to a gang with Western passports will be read locally as referring to the Mossad," Olson wrote.
Dubai officials were not immediately available for comment on the leaked cables.